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Pink Panther

The¬†Pink Panther¬†is the main and title character in the opening and closing credit sequences of every film in¬†The Pink Panther¬†series except for¬†A Shot in the Dark¬†and¬†Inspector Clouseau. His popularity spawned a series of¬†theatrical shorts, merchandise, a¬†comic book, and television cartoons. He starred in 124 short films, 10 television shows and three prime time¬†specials. The animated Pink Panther character's initial appearance in the live action film's title sequence, directed by¬†Friz Freleng, was such a success with audiences and¬†United Artists¬†that the studio signed Freleng and his¬†DePatie-Freleng Enterprises¬†studio to a multi-year contract for a series of¬†Pink Panther¬†theatrical cartoon shorts. The first entry in the series, 1964's¬†The Pink Phink, (his debut appearance) featured the Panther harassing his foil, a little white mustached man who is actually a caricature of¬†Friz Freleng¬†(this character is officially known as "The Little White Guy" and/or "The Man"¬†[1]), by constantly trying to paint the little man's blue house pink.¬†The Pink Phink¬†won the 1964¬†Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and subsequent shorts in the series, usually featuring the Pink Panther opposite the little man, were successful releases. In an early series of Pink Panther animated cartoons, the Panther generally remained silent, speaking only in two theatrical shorts,¬†Sink Pink¬†and¬†Pink Ice.¬†Rich Littleprovided the Panther's voice in the latter shorts, modelling it on that of¬†David Niven¬†(who had portrayed Clouseau's jewel-thief nemesis in the original live-action film). Years later Little would overdub Niven's voice for¬†Trail of the Pink Panther¬†and¬†Curse of the Pink Panther, due to Niven's ill health. All of the animated¬†Pink Panther shorts utilized¬†the distinctive jazzy theme music¬†composed by¬†Henry Mancini¬†for the 1963 feature film, with additional scores composed by¬†Walter Greene¬†or¬†William Lava. In the fall of 1969, the¬†Pink Panther¬†cartoons made their way to¬†NBC¬†television shown¬†Saturday mornings¬†via¬†The Pink Panther Show. NBC added a¬†laugh track¬†to the original cartoons, with¬†Marvin Miller¬†brought on as an off-camera narrator talking to the Pink Panther during¬†bumper¬†segments featuring the Pink Panther and The Inspector together. Pink Panther¬†shorts made after 1969 were produced for both broadcast and film release, typically appearing on television first, and released to theaters by United Artists. One version of the show was called¬†The Think Pink Panther Show. A number of sister series joined¬†The Pink Panther¬†on movie screens and on the airwaves, among them¬†The Ant and the Aardvark,¬†The Tijuana Toads¬†(a.k.a.¬†The Texas Toads),¬†Hoot Kloot, and¬†Misterjaw¬†(a.k.a.¬†Mr. Jaws and Catfish). There were also a series of animated shorts called¬†The Inspector, with the Clouseau-inspired Inspector and his sidekick Sgt. Deux-Deux, whom the Inspector is forever correcting. Other DePatie-Freleng series included¬†Roland and Rattfink,¬†The Dogfather¬†(a¬†Godfather¬†pastiche), with a canine Corleone family and two¬†Tijuana Toads¬†spinoffs,The Blue Racer¬†and¬†Crazylegs Crane. The German television version which started airing in 1973 in¬†ZDF¬†was presented in 30-minute episodes, composed of one Pink Panther cartoon, one episode ofThe Inspector¬†and one episode of¬†The Ant and the Aardvark. Most notably, the difference between the German and the English version of the Pink Panther is a rhymed narration in the German version (spoken by voice actor¬†Gert G√ľnther Hoffmann), commenting and describing the plot. For this show, custom intro and end sequences were cut together from existing pieces of animation. In 1976, the half-hour series was revamped into a 90-minute format, as¬†The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show; this version included a live-action segment, where the show's host, comedian Lenny Schultz, would read letters and jokes from viewers. This version flopped, and would change back to the original half-hour version in 1977. In 1978,¬†The Pink Panther¬†moved to ABC and was rebranded¬†The All New Pink Panther Show, where it lasted one season before leaving the network realm entirely. The ABC version of the series featured sixteen episodes with 32 new Pink Panther cartoons, and 16 of¬†Crazylegs Crane. The 32 entries were later released theatrically by¬†United Artists. In 1971,¬†Gold Key Comics¬†began publishing a Pink Panther¬†comic book, with art by¬†Warren Tufts.¬†The Pink Panther and the Inspector¬†lasted 87 issues, ending only when Gold Key ceased operations in 1984.¬†The spinoff series¬†The Inspector¬†(also from Gold Key) lasted 19 issues, from 1974 to 1978.

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